Test A/B in Email Studio: Steps and considerations

Test AB Marketing Cloud

As we know, the Salesforce Marketing Cloud is made up of several modules that cover different areas of Digital Marketing for B2B and B2C. Sending emails that generate a positive impact on our clients’ subscribers represents a fundamental area in Email Marketing strategies. Therefore, Marketing Cloud covers this aspect with tools such as Email Studio and in particular the A/B tests.

The A/B tests allow you to send two initial “test” versions of the same email using Email Studio in Marketing Cloud to two different groups of subscribers from the same data extension or list.

These tests can vary in terms of, for example, the subject, the preheader, the body of the email, the versions of the email or the creatives. Finally you can send the version that has given the best results to all the remaining subscribers of the data extension or list.

If you’re not yet familiar with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud and would like an overview of what it offers, we invite you to read the following article to find out What is the Marketing Cloud? The Salesforce Digital Marketing Hub.

How do A/B tests work?

First of all, we must take into account that the system will randomly select which subscribers will receive both tests, allowing you to use the same set of subscribers for future A/B tests and to send the winning version, which has given the best results to the rest of your subscribers automatically when it is determined which one it is.

Although the A/B tests are part of the testing process, you will be sending the emails to actual subscribers, so you must guarantee the quality of both versions. Use the A/B test before sending the final version to the rest of your subscribers, always after you have obtained the test results.

In this way, Marketing Cloud will send both versions of our email to the test recipients, who may represent, for example, 20% of the total. That is, version “A” would receive 10% and version “B” would receive another 10%. Once we know which version has had the best results, it will be sent to the other subscribers automatically. If you prefer, you can also send it manually. Following the example, it would be the remaining 80%.


If you prefer to send the email manually, you can analyze these results and send the other subscribers the version that best suits your requirements.

Test AB Marketing Cloud

Steps for setting up an A/B test

Setting up an A/B test in the Marketing Cloud is not only extremely useful, but also simple.

The first step is to define the objectives of the test. As we have just seen, three of the most common objectives are to determine the highest opening rate, the click rate and the interaction rate. Next, identify your subscribers to perform the A/B Test. You can select from a list of subscribers, a group, a data extension or a data filter. You can now configure the A/B Test in Email Studio:

1. Enter Email Studio. Click on A/B Testing and then Create A/B Test.

Test AB Marketing Cloud

2. Assign a name to your test and add a description if you wish.

Test AB Marketing Cloud

3. Determine your type of test:

Depending on our preferences, we can test within the following fields: Subject, email version, email content, sender’s name, date/time of sending and preheader.
If you want to test specific email content areas, make sure you have added a Test A/B content block to the email.

Test AB Marketing Cloud

4. Choose the recipients of the test:

Select the lists of subscribers, groups, data extensions.

  • Click on Select
  • It determines its distribution. This is the number of subscribers you are actually sending the test to. You can manually enter the percentage or the number of subscribers you want to include.

5. Establish the criteria of the email with best results. You can choose between:

  • Highest single open rate (total number of emails opened by single recipients divided by the number of emails delivered in the campaign).
  • Highest Click Through Rate (CTR) (percentage of recipients who have clicked on any link in your email).

Test AB Marketing Cloud

6. Specifies the duration after which the system will determine the email that has given the best results.


7. When running an A/B test on the subject of an email select whether you want the line from the subject that has given the best results to be saved again in the original email.


8. Schedule the implementation of the A/B test

  • Select a start time: immediately, scheduled or schedule later.
  • Select how to send the email that has given the best results: automatically or manually.

9. Configure sending options

  • Select a shipping option
  • Click on Finish
  • Click on Confirm

Test AB Marketing Cloud

Following these simple steps you will have created an A/B Test in Marketing Cloud ready to be executed or programmed, and with it you will be able to measure the different versions of your email or content within your email.


We are convinced that with this guide you will be able to successfully set up and run your A/B tests in Email Studio de Marketing Cloud and use them to optimize your future email campaigns with the highest degree of satisfaction and engagement. Testing these variables on a regular basis will allow you to track the results of your email and see which version has the highest single open rate or the highest single click rate. In addition, by performing Test A/B you will be able to discover patterns that work well in your emails and discard patterns that don’t usually give satisfactory results in future emails.

For all these reasons, A/B tests are a powerful module within Email Studio since they allow you to optimize your email marketing campaigns to deliver more specific and relevant messages to your subscribers. By automating the testing process, you will save time and resources. Performing a correct use of A/B tests is a task that requires care and experience, and at ShowerThinking we are specialists in developing together with your company automation and management programs for Email Marketing through the Marketing Cloud.

Therefore, if you need help or training in Marketing Cloud , our team of professionals will advise you on everything you need. Do not hesitate to contact us!

When to use a Data Extension or a subscriber list in Marketing Cloud

List vs Data Extension

When working in the Marketing Cloud, questions often arise about when to use a data extension or a subscriber list when uploading contacts. If you still have doubts and need to differentiate when to use one option or the other, you are in the right post.

This post focuses on the specific use of data extensions and subscriber lists in the Email Studio module within the Marketing Cloud. If you still do not know this module of the Marketing Cloud, we invite you to read the following article, which discusses in depth what is Email Studio: Email Studio in the Marketing Cloud: what is it and what it offers. On the other hand, if you still do not know the Cloud Marketing platform or have not been clear about some concepts about it, you can visit the following article to familiarize yourself with it and know What is Cloud Marketing? The Salesforce Digital Marketing Hub.

Data extensions vs listas de suscriptores

On the one hand, a data extension is a table within the application database (in this case Cloud Marketing) that contains your data. You can use it to store a list of contacts (to send them an email, for example) but it can also be used to store any type of information (products that a customer has bought, history of contracting services). In short, you can use a data extension to store subscriber information (as you do with lists) or to store relational data for these subscribers.

On the other hand, a subscriber list in the Marketing Cloud is basically a compilation of subscribers who receive your communications. Therefore, you can create as many lists as you want in order to segment the subscribers to your liking and make more personalized communications.

Data extensions are very similar to tables in a database. They are usually related to each other and serve to keep your contact information as complex as you want. A list on the other hand is the simplest way to store contacts is like the previous step to using a Data Extension.

If you need to keep only contact information to work in Email Studio (First Name, Last Name, Company, Communication Preferences) you can do it with a Data Extension or a List. If you need something more advanced like maintaining the list of products a customer has purchased, you can only do it with a Data Extension since you will need to create several tables related to each other.

Why are there 2 ways to store data in the Marketing Cloud?

The answer has a lot to do with the evolution of the platform over the years. Before being acquired by Salesforce, ExactTarget was recognized as one of the best marketing automation platforms in the market. Subscriber lists were initially the only way to store user data but later developments in the platform and customers’ needs to maintain more complete data on their subscribers led to the emergence of Data Extension on the platform.

Which one should I use then?

In principle you could use either of the 2 forms as long as they are adapted to the use case of your project. If you want a personal recommendation, if you are starting a new project, Data Extensions are a safe option and the way recommended in general by Salesforce itself if you plan to increase your number of contacts in the future, maintain relational information about your subscribers or use an API to enter/query data. In short, both methods are very similar to the day-to-day operation of marketing campaigns.

Can I migrate from one option to another if I decide to change in the future?

If you want to change from a subscriber list to a Data Extension you can do so easily. It will depend on how you have implemented Cloud Marketing but it should not be difficult. You will need to plan on which Data Extension you will maintain the old lists and learn how to segment communications with the Data Extension.

Migrating from a Data Extension to a Subscriber List requires several decisions since you may have to do without data due to the limitations of the lists.

Main differences between data extension and list

Data extensions and lists may look similar, but in practice they have several differences. Some of them are:

  • Lists are used only to store subscriber information while a data extension can be used to store any type of information.
  • Lists are easier to use, require little technical knowledge and minimal configuration. While data extensions are more complex and extensive and allow for much more information to be included.
  • Data extensions do not require the inclusion of an e-mail address to add a contact, while lists do.
  • Data extensions are mainly used when you want to store and maintain user information that cannot be stored with the preferences of a list. This means that for example, if a user has multiple values for the same attribute, this cannot be stored in a list but can be stored in a data extension.
  • Lists are generally used when you have a database of 500,000 contacts or less while data extensions support more than 500,000 contacts.
  • There are functionalities specific to each element. For example, lists have standardized reports that data extensions do not have; data extensions can be shared among all company accounts, while lists cannot be shared, etc.

Structure of a data extension

A data extension is formed from the following components:

  • Fields: Fields, as their name indicates, are fields that determine the information that can be stored and in the Marketing Cloud correspond to columns. The peculiarity of this component is that it is possible to create as many fields as needed for a Data Extension.
  • Data Relationships: this type of relationship occurs when two data extensions are linked because they have a field in common within their tables. In general, this type of relationship is used to establish an advanced segmentation to include this type of segmented information in dynamic email content.

Structure of a subscriber list

A list of subscribers is formed from the following components:

  • Email Address: The email address of the contact, this is required in the list but not in the data extension.
  • Subscriber Status: The status defines the deliverability of the contacts. It can be active, bounced, held, unsubscribed and deleted. The main differences arise between bounced and held because if the contact has a bounced status, it cannot receive emails since 1 or 2 soft bounces or 1 hard bounce have occurred; while if it is in held status, the contact cannot receive emails since it has received 3 soft bounces or 3 hard bounces. If their status is unsubscribed, it means they have been removed from our list.
  • Subscriber Key: is a unique value for each contact and serves to identify the contacts as first choice. Its use is not mandatory, and if it is not used, the email address serves as identification. A good use of the subscriber key is when you keep information of the same contact in different lists, since this value serves to identify the same contact in different lists.
  • Profile Attributes: Profile attributes are the information that characterizes the contact. By default, the name and email address are mandatory and cannot be modified.
  • Preference Attributes: These preferences define how a contact prefers to receive email communications. Both profile and preference attributes are very useful when creating groups within the Marketing Cloud and being able to offer dynamic content that adapts to their preferences.

Best practices for knowing when to work with one option or another

Both options are highly recommended for sending emails, however there are several scenarios to consider when using one or the other option.

The main scenario is the time you have available to create one element or another. If you have little time, the ideal is to create a list, since the steps are minimal. If the process is more complex, you have time and you want to include a large number of contacts, it is best to create a data extension, as they are more complex and elaborate but allow more options with their table model with editable fields.

The import speed is another scenario to take into account since a list is capable of importing 500,000 rows in one hour while a data extension is capable of importing twice as many rows in 10 minutes.

When you want to share a list with other departments, the ideal is to create a data extension since they can be shared among all the accounts within the company structure, while the lists cannot be shared.

The last scenario to be mentioned is when using exclusion lists versus suppression lists. Exclusion lists are normal lists, while suppression lists are data extensions, and their main difference is that in exclusion lists, the contact (with a subscriber status) is excluded from all contacts collected in the Marketing Cloud, while suppression lists are not included in the total count of contacts in the Marketing Cloud and therefore your contacts are available to send you communications if the data extension is valid.

Now that you know a little more about the use of lists and data extensions in the Marketing Cloud, if you have any other questions related to the Marketing Cloud or you want us to guide you in the implementation of it, do not hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to help.

CloudPages in Marketing Cloud

Cloud pages Marketing Cloud

As we all know, the Salesforce Marketing Cloud is made up of several modules that cover different areas of Digital Marketing for B2C. The creation of Landing Pages and microsites is a fundamental area in content creation strategies and Cloud Marketing covers this aspect with CloudPages.

CloudPages is a feature of Salesforce Marketing Cloud that allows you to create and publish marketing content for your company, with special emphasis on landing pages and microsites.

After creating the content, you can optimize and customize it for different mobile, social media, and web experiences. You can publish it on the spot or schedule it for later and analyze what you have published to measure its performance in each channel.

If you’re not yet familiar with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud and would like to learn more about the platform’s capabilities, please read the following article to find out What the Cloud Marketing Cloud is all about. The Salesforce Digital Marketing Hub.

CloudPages: Channels and creation

CloudPages supports publishing to these channels:

  • Landing Pages
  • MobilePush
  • Microsites

To ensure that we send emails to our subscribers based on their preferences, we need to create a Landing Page with a form that includes specific fields through which we can obtain this information from the clients.
Creating Landing Pages with CloudPages and Content Builder is a fairly simple process considering the powerful content editor that Marketing Cloud has.

Cloud pages, Marketing Cloud
On the other hand, Marketing Cloud recommends the use of an exclusive domain for emailing activities and managing auto-response emails. The configuration of the domain for use with Marketing Cloud requires several DNS entries to work properly.

Main features of CloudPages

The main features of CloudPages allow the creation, editing and publication of content to be streamlined so that it is easy for digital marketers to manage it. Therefore, we highlight the following features:

  • A single functionality and a single process for creating usable content across multiple channels.
  • Edit by organizing content using gears.
  • Drag & Drop interface to create blocks of content
  • Ability to edit HTML code and include elements such as code snippets.
  • Data obtained from the Smart Capture block is automatically saved in lists and data extensions.
  • Adds default versions of content to different content blocks in order to speed up the process of creating CloudPages.
  • Design and preview content in the format your customers will see.
  • CloudPages has permissions through which we can give editing and publishing permission to different users within the Marketing Cloud.

This way, we will have the contacts from each form stored in different Marketing Cloud extensions with Salesforce’s unique identifiers, so we can immediately impact users and have all the information in Salesforce’s CRM automatically, without the need for queries to retrieve the information.

CloudPages applications in our business

Through the use of CloudPages, we may also create a personalized preference center for our customers, where they can select their preferences regarding our products, decide when they want to receive emails or modify their personal information.
Another clear example of the CloudPages application would be a subscription page for our website, where users can have their own username and password.


A CloudPage can contain AmpScript content. This proprietary scripting language of Cloud Marketing can be integrated as advanced dynamic content into emails and SMS as well as CloudPages.

AmpScript is very useful for extending the functionality of our website. In addition, this programming language allows, for example, to insert, update or delete data and to use automations. Other of its multiple uses are:

  • Create surveys
  • Measure your customers’ satisfaction with NPS (Net Promoter Score)
  • Pre-fill data
  • Update data in Salesforce
  • Generate Lead Management processes

CloudPages vs Landing Pages

Cloud pages vs Landing pages

CloudPages are, after all, landing pages hosted on the Marketing Cloud and used within the Salesforce ecosystem. However, they have several differences from a landing page that can be created in an external CMS such as WordPress, Drupal or Magento.

Thus, it is necessary to establish the differences and advantages that the use of CloudPages has over the use of landing pages.


  • They are created within the Salesforce Marketing Cloud and can be used within the Salesforce ecosystem.
  • They enable centralized content creation and marketing and communications strategy within the different channels offered by Salesforce
  • With Content Builder, creating and editing these landing pages is simple and intuitive. No prior knowledge of HTML, CSS, or other programming languages is required.
  • Dynamic content can be inserted according to the attributes of our clients, thanks to AMPscript.
  • CloudPages allow for easy integration with all Salesforce environment apps, with much greater possibilities for extracting and harmonizing content and data.
  • They can be used dynamically to include content in Email Marketing or MobilePush campaigns within the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.


Landing Pages

  • They can be created through any CMS (Content Management System).
  • If you use any Salesforce app (Salesforce CRM for example), it’s more difficult to centralize marketing and communication efforts through landing pages.
  • Depending on the CMS used, the creation and edition of landing pages can be simple or extremely complicated, having to know programming languages or not.
  • They do not allow for the inclusion of dynamic content based on the attributes of our subscribers or clients because they cannot be edited with AMPscript language
  • Depending on the CMS used, extracting and harmonizing the results achieved through a landing page can be complicated due to integration with apps from Salesforce or other companies.
  • Their use within Email Marketing or MobilePush campaigns is more reduced than that of CloudPages as they are not exclusive components of Cloud Marketing.


In short, the use of CloudPages is a very important option if we use Cloud Marketing and we want to see our Communication and Marketing efforts bear fruit. To conclude, we can point out that this Marketing Cloud module also has an option to adjust SEO parameters and its own analytics area where you can see data such as

  • Views
  • Clicks if you have any clickable element (button, etc.)
  • Sending Smart Captures
  • Integration with data processing and interpretation tools such as Datorama or Tableau

For all these reasons, CloudPages is a powerful module within the Marketing Cloud as it allows you to create content that complements your email marketing strategies and content, helping to centralize all communication efforts within the Marketing Cloud and can be complemented with other Salesforce apps such as Salesforce CRM.

Therefore, the correct use of CloudPages is a task that requires care and experience, but from ShowerThinking we are specialists in developing together with your company automation and marketing management programs through Marketing Cloud. Therefore, if you need help or training in Cloud Marketing, we have the right team that can help you, so do not hesitate to contact us!

Evergage joins the Salesforce family

Everage joins the Salesforce family

Salesforce recently announced the full acquisition of Evergage, a major move that is not yet known but involves a large number of stakeholders and aims to enhance the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

What is Evergage?

Evergage is a cloud-based software company that hosts user data to collect, analyze, and respond to user behavior on its websites and apps in real time. Therefore, this company founded in 2010 by Karl Wirth and Greg Hinkle, has been positioned as a company specializing in real-time personalization and customer data platform (CDP).

Evergage’s mission throughout these 10 years has always been to personalize the world, joining forces with large multinational companies such as: Autodesk, Carhartt, CenterState Bank, Citrix, Publishers Clearing House, Zumiez and many more. These alliances have provided real-time data-driven experiences across all channels, including web, email, mobile, adtech, social, call-center, in-store and in-branch.

What will this acquisition by Salesforce mean?

The acquisition of Evergage by Salesforce is a major move that delivers Evergage’s multi-channel customization and machine learning capabilities to complement Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s data and audience segmentation modules. This gives companies using the Marketing Cloud the ability to deliver more relevant experiences across all user interactions throughout the customer journey.

This move by Salesforce may have its main focus on enhancing Interaction Studio’s capabilities at the level of Web-level event listening. We also look forward to seeing the changes this acquisition will bring in a future Salesforce Marketing Cloud upgrade.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud: News for 2020

News Marketing Cloud 2020

Salesforce has an annual cycle of three releases (Winter, Spring and Summer). In turn, this year’s Marketing Cloud will have 5 launches spread over January and October, which will bring many new features such as those we will see below.

If you already work with Marketing Cloud you will be interested in knowing all the changes that will be effective from February in the application, so pay attention to be up to date and get the most out of the new features and functionalities that Salesforce will introduce.

However, if you’re not yet familiar with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, we recommend you read the following article first to find out What is the Marketing Cloud? The Salesforce Digital Marketing Hub.

How many new features will there be in the Marketing Cloud?

Advertising Studio

Several modifications have been made within the Dashboard of Advertising Studio’s Lead Capture app. Users can now sort, search, filter, receive notifications, and more directly from the Lead Capture Dashboard (available on the AppExchange).

Contact Builder

Contact Builder has undergone two small modifications that will be of great help to the users of the Marketing Cloud. On the one hand, within the “Data Extensions” tab, a column called “Record Count” will be included in which the number of records per Data Extension can be seen. On the other hand, within the “All Contacts” tab, there have been 3 changes in the name labeling, thus changing its name:

  • SMS will be Mobile Connect
  • Push will be MobilePush
  • OTT will be GroupConnect

Content Builder

From this release, images hosted on Sitecore Content Hub can be added to emails and content blocks. In addition, it will be possible to add tags from the library to each file and a backspace icon will be included in each file type.

Journey Builder

Starting with this first release in 2020, simple submissions can be created, sent and monitored from Journey Builder with a single click, distinguishing between a multi-step journey and a single entry, single submission journey. Also, user permissions will begin to affect the creation of journeys in Journey Builder, meaning that if a user does not have sufficient permissions to create emails or view Data Extensions for example, they will not be able to access this functionality in Journey Builder (to correct this type of error the ideal is to give the user the role of Cloud Marketing Manager).

Social estudio

Social Studio is taking a big step this 2020 with a great series of new features. First, you can create Instagram stories from Social Studio and assign them to a mobile user for later publication (all through notifications). Secondly, through Command Center Instagram hashtags can be used as a data source. Finally, accounts associated with Facebook, Instagram or Google My Business can be removed from Social Studio, which is quite useful considering that previously only some of the pages could be transferred to a new user (this functionality is ideal in case the person in charge changes jobs or leaves the company for example).

command center marketing cloud

Email estudio

As we will see in the next section, in Email Studio there have been a few changes that will remove previous features.

Einstein Marketing Insights

This app within the Marketing Cloud allows you to further analyze the performance of mailings made in Email Studio or Journey Builder by discovering factors that affect the behavior of subscribers. In this way, Einstein Marketing Insights will allow from the new launch:

  • To measure the impact of the subject lines in emails, allowing to know the most used subjects, the ones with the best performance, the most used lines and phrases and the hypothetical impact regarding the open rate.
  • Discover anomalies with respect to the performance of emails sent during the last 90 days, and warn of any anomalies through notifications.
  • Possibility to choose the appropriate period of time to send an email through Einstein Send Time Optimization (STO).

Mobile Studio

Like Social Studio, Mobile Studio grows exponentially and incorporates new and interesting features such as:

  • Import contacts within GroupConnect through the Import Wizard or via API and delete unwanted LINE messages in the main menu.
  • Access the Mobile Connect Administrator pages from Setup and associate campaigns with SMS activities in Journey Builder.
  • Activate rich media notifications in MobilePush Administration.
  • Updated version of MobilePush SDK with advances for iOS 13, geolocation messaging and more.

Web Studio

The only new feature of Web Studio is the inclusion of permissions for CloudPages, so you can manage access to CloudPages, both the permission to view, edit, publish, etc.

In addition to all the above developments, there will be new features to improve the user experience of both the content creator and the Cloud Marketing Manager.

Functionalities that will pass to a better life

It’s not all news in this early-year release, as Salesforce has decided to remove a number of cloud marketing features. The features that will come to life are as follows:

  • Cloud Marketing Campaign Approvals. This functionality will disappear from the Marketing Cloud and therefore Content Builder Approvals will have to be used to approve emails.
  • Classic Approvals. Like the previous one, this form of approval will be removed from the Marketing Cloud.
  • Creation of Classic Live Content. To replace this functionality we can use the live content of Content Builder Block SDK.
  • Creation of Classic Emails. This functionality will be removed from June 2020.
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud Connector for Microsoft Dynamics 2011. This connector will support integration with versions of Microsoft Dynamics 2013 or higher.
  • Elimination of Select All Checkbox within Synchronized Data Extensions.


Salesforce release

With its cyclical system of annual releases, Salesforce enables a major improvement within the Marketing Cloud that this year will be reflected above all in providing a better user experience. Thus, we have seen that functionality related to “Classic Content” will gradually disappear from the platform to give more weight to apps within the Marketing Cloud as Social Studio, Mobile Studio or Journey Builder, which are in the process of growth and adaptation within the platform.

In addition, life will be made easier for the Cloud Marketing Manager, allowing him to assign a wide variety of roles to different users (allowing him to better segment the work team) and providing him with new tools available to everyone from the main Administration menu.

Carrying out a correct use within the Marketing Cloud is a task that requires care and experience, but from ShowerThinking we are specialists in developing together with your company programs of automation and management of Marketing through platforms like Marketing Cloud. Therefore, if you need help or training in Cloud Marketing we have the right team that can help you, so do not hesitate to contact us!

Contact Builder in Marketing Cloud: audiences, data extensions

Contact builder, Marketing Cloud

Contact Builder is the application within the Marketing Cloud that provides access to account contact data and relationships designed to be used conveniently. With Contact Builder, we can manage, consolidate, organize and link data from all of the Cloud Marketing applications and external sources.

If you’re not yet familiar with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud and would like an overview of what this platform offers, we invite you to read the following article to find out What is the Marketing Cloud? The Salesforce Digital Marketing Hub.

Data sources

Contact Builder within Marketing Cloud, is like any contact manager within a Marketing Automation tool. As with other tools, you can synchronize your Marketing Cloud data with other types of data sources. The ideal in Contact Builder is to synchronize Marketing Cloud with the information contained in Salesforce CRM (if you have one), but if you have another type of CRM you can also connect it, although many times you need to make a custom development and integration.

Within Contact Builder there are three types of Data Sources:

  • System Data Sources: Within this type of data sources are included those related to Cloud Marketing, email applications, mobile applications or those related to Einstein Predictive Intelligence.
  • Synchronized Data Sources: This type of data sources are usually those naturally synchronized in the Marketing Cloud, such as data stored in Salesforce CRM.
  • Custom Data Sources: As the name suggests, these are custom data sources, where most of the time a custom integration is needed to make them work properly with Marketing Cloud.

Data extesion

Data extension Marketing Cloud

Within Contact Builder, one of the most common actions is to manage, administer and create Data Extensions, but… What is a Data Extension?

A Data Extension is a table within the application database (in this case Cloud Marketing) that contains your data. It can be used to store a list of contacts (to send them an email, for example) but it can also be used to store any kind of information (products that a customer has bought, service contract history). In short, you can use a data extension to store subscriber information (as you do with lists) or to store relational data for these subscribers. Data extensions are very similar to tables in a database, as they are usually related to each other and serve to keep your contact information as complex as you want.

If you want to go deeper into the use of Data Extensions in the Marketing Cloud, we recommend reading the following article which specifies when to use a Data Extension or a subscriber list in the Marketing Cloud.


Attribute Groups: Contact records and Data Extensions

The logic of managing Data Extensions in the Marketing Cloud is the possibility of linking data from several data extensions in a single contact record. In order to understand this type of logic, we need to know that any Data Extension has a number of records. Each record in a Data Extension is a “contact” that makes up that database, but there can be the same contact record in several Data Extensions. Therefore, when using Contact Builder we need to link the data from several Data Extensions so that our subscribers are as complete as possible.

To make this step possible it is necessary to create attribute groups. Attribute groups allow you to organize your data because each group includes a data model consisting of data extensions linked to contact records or other data extensions. In addition, you can include as many data extensions as you need in an attribute group and you can use these groups in templates within Contact Builder.

Import of data

Contact Builder is the ideal application for importing data into the Marketing Cloud. Within the Import menu, you can import data in two different ways:

  • Import Into Data Extension: This option allows you to import a series of data or a database into a Data Extension and configure the definition of the fields that will make up that Data Extension. This function is useful to define your own fields and not to make mistakes when importing data.
  • Import Into a List: This option allows you to import data into a subscriber list or import data into the All contacts section. This option is ideal when you want to make a list of subscribers for an emailing for example, since Data Extensions are more complex databases, used for other types of purposes.

Best practices in Contact Builder

Deskop Content Builder

When you use Contact Builder, you must have a series of clear basic concepts to ensure the integrity and order of your data in a correct way. Therefore, the most important and fundamental concept to keep in mind is: Always use a single contact key per contact. This decision allows you to assign an email address, phone number and other information collected through different communication channels to your own contact (identified by the same contact key/subscriber key). The contact key must be a value that cannot be changed in the future (such as a physical address) and must always be unique for each contact, so ideally this value should be an ID (in the case of Salesforce it could be the Salesforce ID field) or an identifying number containing alphanumeric characters (never numeric only).

Another fundamental concept to keep in mind is to understand the difference between “All Contacts” and “All Subscribers” lists. These two lists may seem the same but have a big difference. On the one hand, the “All Contacts” list shows all the contacts collected within the Marketing Cloud (from Contact Builder). On the other hand, the “All Subscribers” list shows all the contacts subscribed within Email Studio, which can receive emails and communications from the Marketing Cloud.

A third fundamental concept to keep in mind is to avoid deleting contacts. This happens because Marketing Cloud always keeps information about the contacts even if they have been deleted from modules such as Email Studio. It is therefore important to avoid deleting contacts unless it is strictly necessary, so that the process of unsubscribing among other things is completed correctly and that information is reflected in the Marketing Cloud.

Finally, it should be noted that ContactID and SubscriberID are not the same as ContactKey and SubscriberKey. In theory, both ContactID and SubscriberID are used as substitute keys in the internal systems of the Marketing Cloud, which means that they are reflected in activities such as tracking extracts or system data views when performing queries. Therefore, it is not advisable to use these values in our activities in the Marketing Cloud, but rather to always use both the ContactKey and the SubscriberKey.

In short, Contact Builder is a powerful module within the Marketing Cloud since it is the basis of our communications by allowing us to import and host contacts and information from them in relational data systems. Therefore, a correct use of Contact Builder is a task that requires care and experience, but from ShowerThinking we are specialists in developing together with your company automation and marketing management programs through Marketing Cloud. Therefore, if you need help or training in Cloud Marketing we have the right team that can help you, so do not hesitate to contact us!


Reply Mail Management in Marketing Cloud: What it is and how to configure it

Reply Mail Management

Understanding what Reply Mail Management is when working in the Marketing Cloud is essential if you want to have a transversal communication between the company and the customer. If you need help in its configuration and in understanding all the functionalities that Marketing Cloud offers regarding Reply Mail Management, you are in the right article.

This post is focused on the specific use of Reply Mail Management in the Email Studio module within Marketing Cloud. If you are not yet familiar with this Marketing Cloud module, we invite you to read the following article, where it talks in depth about what Email Studio is: Email Studio in Marketing Cloud: what it is and what it offers. On the other hand, if you still do not know the Marketing Cloud platform or have not been clear about some concepts about it, you can visit the following article to familiarize yourself with it and know What is Marketing Cloud? The Salesforce Digital Marketing Hub.

Reply Mail Management: what is it?

When we talk about Reply Mail Management (or RMM) we mean the ways we handle responses to emails sent through the Marketing Cloud. These responses are produced automatically once Reply Mail Management is configured and include auto-responses and unsubscribe requests that we receive in response to emails already sent. In addition, Marketing Cloud allows us the ability to automatically forward emails when they need to be reviewed by a third party.

The first thing to do when configuring and using Reply Mail Management is to create a specific email address to be answered, called “reply-to address”. Once this address is created, when you receive an email, the RMM applies a set of matching rules to determine if the email is an out of office reply, an automatic reply or an unsubscribe request and acts on the message according to the previously configured characteristics.

The Reply Mail Management system also acts on these functions:

  • Forward an email to different users depending on the circumstances of the received email.
  • Make an auto-response and control the content of that auto-response message.

In the following image you can see an outline of how the RMM works in Marketing Cloud:

Reply Mail Management Process


Options to consider during the configuration process

  • Email Display Name. This is the name that appears when the subscriber responds to emails sent by the company. Ideally, a corporate name should be used in the case of a general email address, or there is also the possibility of using a name of a company employee.
  • Reply Subdomain. The subdomain is the part of the URL that points to the Marketing Cloud auto-response rules. If the company has an email address with the following structure nombre@ejemplo.com, a subdomain must be created that contains this structure, such as: email.example.com or reply.example.com.
  • Email Reply Address. Basically this option allows you to configure the email address that will appear to your subscriber in the communications they receive. It is important to establish a specific email address for this, such as: reply@ejemplo.com. Although this address is not a valid email address in most cases, it does not matter since the address manages the response through the RMM with the different sender profiles created.
  • DNS Record Redirect Complete. Before enabling this option and configuring the RMM you must complete the Domain Name System (DNS) record. This process requires technical assistance from the ISP and the Marketing Cloud representative.

Configuración del Reply Mail Management

The process of setting up the RMM is a simple process, but it needs to be done in a certain way. The process comprises three general parts:

  1. Specifying a reply subdomain (as we have seen before).
  2. Request the relevant DNS changes from the ISP and the Marketing Cloud representative.
  3. Configure the RMM settings within the Marketing Cloud

The most interesting part is the third one, and therefore we are going to observe how it looks in Marketing Cloud.

Reply Mail

As we can see, there are 4 sections in the RMM settings: Reply Address Definition, Reply Filters, Response and Routing.

The most important is the first one, which has been explained above. Then, in the filters, Marketing Cloud offers us an option to delete the auto-responses and out-of-office messages and another one to manually manage the unsubscriptions. We must pay close attention to the Response section as this is where we can manage the auto-response message we want to be shown to our subscribers, whether it is going to be specific, general or not. Finally, we are asked to fill in an email address where the remaining autoresponders will be forwarded.

Once the RMM configuration is established, we can improve this process by creating sender profiles and configuring Triggered Sends for auto-responders. This is common because in this way, the degree of automation when answering our subscribers is much higher and it allows us a wide flexibility being able to send auto-responses from different Sender Profiles. If you want to find out more about what a sender profile is and how to create one in the Marketing Cloud, click on the following link Sender profiles in Marketing Cloud.

Case Study: Importance of the MRI

The company Global Tech S.A. sent 20,000 emails on Friday. Without the RMM option, starting Monday morning, employees should manually manage all incoming responses such as out-of-office, auto-responses, unsubscriptions, as well as individual customer responses.

However, with the addition of the RMM option which manages a large percentage of responses automatically on the spot, customers are completely satisfied as they receive personalized attention the very moment they send their email response.

In short, the configuration and implementation of the Reply Mail Management option is a great success in companies that handle a large volume of weekly emails and want to save time and costs in managing the responses of their subscribers. In addition, the implementation of this option allows to put the subscriber in the foreground and offer him an automatic, personalized and instantaneous response, thus improving the perception of the company by the customer.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions related to the Marketing Cloud or if you are interested in being guided through its implementation.

What is a Sender Profile in the Marketing Cloud?

Sender profile

If you have reached this post, it is probably because you have difficulties in understanding what a Sender Profile is when you work with the Marketing Cloud. Read on to find out what a Sender Profile really is, the possibilities it offers to get the most out of it and everything it brings to you within the Marketing Cloud.

This post is focused on the knowledge about Sender Profiles in the Email Studio module within Marketing Cloud. If you still don’t know this module of Marketing Cloud, we invite you to read the following article, where we talk in depth about what Email Studio is: Email Studio in Marketing Cloud: what it is and what it offers. On the other hand, if you still do not know the Marketing Cloud platform or have not been clear about some concepts about it, you can visit the following article to familiarize yourself with it and know What is Marketing Cloud? The Salesforce Digital Marketing Hub.

What is a Sender Profile?

A Sender Profile in the Marketing Cloud, as its name suggests, is a profile that specifies shipping information and can be reused as many times as you want just by selecting the correct profile in the shipment.

The Sender Profile has its own name, which is very useful when identifying the different Sender Profiles (for example, if we handle Marketing Cloud for an international company, we can create different Sender Profiles for each country and differentiate them by name).

Within each Sender Profile there are two very important configuration sections:

  • Sender Information. Here you specify the name of the Sender itself in the e-mails and also the e-mail address through which you will be sending them (the “from name” and “from e-mail” fields respectively).
  • Custom Reply Mail Management Settings. Through this section, what allows you Marketing Cloud is to configure a “from name” and “from email” to perform forwarding, as well as configure auto-responses and forwarding through Triggered Send, which will be explained later.

Likewise, you can configure Sender Profiles based on the users we have in the Marketing Cloud. This is useful for companies that make personalized sendings through their employees.

What allows us to do a Sender Profile in the Marketing Cloud?

As mentioned above, the main functionalities of a Sender Profile are to differentiate the name of the sender and the e-mail address, as well as to manage forwarding and auto-responses based on Triggered Sends. All this by means of the possibility of creating as many Sender Profiles as we want and being able to use them only by changing the sending profile when doing so.

But you may ask yourself, isn’t it possible to personalize Sender Profiles based on the contact information of my company’s employees? The answer to this question is yes. Salesforce Marketing Cloud allows accounts that have the “Enhanced Sender Profile” feature to create a “Dynamic Sender Profile”.

Dynamic Sender Profiles

A Dynamic Sender Profile, is a dynamic Sender Profile that thanks to AMPscript technology changes its information “from name” and “from email” based on attributes previously loaded in the Salesforce CRM module for our customers.

The Dynamic Sender Profile will only work if the customers to be sent have two information fields previously loaded into the Data Extension and Sales Cloud with the attributes “from name” and “from email”. Once these attributes are loaded, using AMPscript technology and having created a Sender Profile that uses this technology to map the information loaded in the Marketing Cloud and Sales Cloud, the “from name” and “from email” will change based on the data loaded for each customer.

This is very useful when you have to send from different email addresses that correspond to employees of a company, and the content of the email is the same for all customers.

This particular Sender Profile, can have problems when there is a customer who does not have information loaded from these two attributes mentioned above, or the information loaded between Clouds is different. If this happens, Marketing Cloud will recognize the error and load the information “from name” and “from email” by default.

How to create a Sender Profile?

Creating a Sender Profile is a very simple process that will only take a minute. To do this, go to Email Studio and within the Admin tab in the Send Management section choose the option Sender Profiles.

Once you are in the Sender Profiles menu, just click on the Create button and once you are in the menu, all you have to do is fill in the requested fields with the data you want to put in your Sender Profile.

In the following image, you can see the steps to follow to reach the Sender Profile menu and create one:

create sender profile

What is a Triggered Send and how to assign it to a Sender Profile?

Triggered Sends are commonly used to send relevant, personalized and timely messages to users. These types of messages are usually welcome emails, automatic no-response emails or thank you emails when making a transaction, among others.

This type of sending allows you to associate it to a Sender Profile to show the sending information and associate it to a specific email previously created so that this type of email is always shown. In addition, they allow you to manage whether you want this Triggered Send to be excluded from any list or data extension, as well as to add users from this Triggered Send to different lists or data extensions.

To associate a Triggered Send to a Sender Profile, the only thing you need to do is enter the Sender Profile configuration (as shown above) and in the Custom Reply Mail Management Settings choose the options to use an auto-response or forward through a triggered send, that simple.

image triggered

Advantages of creating Sender Profiles

As mentioned above, the main advantage of creating a Sender Profile is that we don’t have to fill in “from name” and “from email” information every time we send an email in the Marketing Cloud.

This advantage is reinforced with the possibility of creating Dynamic Sender Profiles, since once a Dynamic Sender Profile is created we can use that same profile to send an entire department, as long as the content of the emails is the same among all the Senders.

Finally, I would like to emphasize the main advantage that Marketing Cloud allows us to configure Triggered Emails to set up the auto-responses and forwarding of a Sender Profile.

In any project where you want to get the most out of Email Marketing strategies, the possibility of creating Sender Profiles with Marketing Cloud, allows a detailed customization, a considerable time saving and better results. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any doubts related to Marketing Cloud or if you would like us to guide you through its implementation.